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Re: Re. Progress



You wrote:
>>... This is a thorny philosophical problem that's been batted around for
years, and no one has come up with a
satisfactory defense of the idea that evolution is inherently progressive...
The longer you leave lineages
going randomly, the further to the right they'll go. To call this 'progress'
is like saying that a staggering drunk miraculously makes progress to the
right even though everyone can see there's a brick wall on his left. The
tendency is rightward, but you can't call random staggering inherently
progressive.

I think we better get back to dinosaurs...>>

This IS about dinosaurs!  Without a concept of progress, it would be
impossible to assert that any species of dinosaurs is descended from another
species.  To track a character or set of characters from one animal to
another assumes direction.  If there were no reason for inheritance, if you
couldn't identify a successful adaptation increasing in effectiveness, then
the only possible way to hypothesize a lineage would be to say that two
animals were so closely linked in time and in attributes that they must be
related.  Remember that cladistics doesn't even use time as a variable!
Dinogeorge is using a limited idea of progress when he talks about
increasing complexity.  Expand this idea to include a suite of characters
related to function, knowing that some of these characters may be complex
and others simple (primitive), and the idea seems compelling.  The suite of
characters increases continuously in complexity in some lines while others
are able to stop at a successful point.
Randomness refers to the generation of new capabilities through mutation.
You're using it as equivalent to the process of natural selection itself.
Descent with modification:  Sheesh, Chris.